Indexed on: 06 Jun '09Published on: 06 Jun '09Published in: Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.)
Expression of the genes that mediate the first steps in steroidogenesis, the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STARD1), the cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme, cytochrome P450scc (CYP11A1) and 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/Delta5-Delta4 isomerase (HSD3B), is tightly controlled by a battery of transcription factors in the adrenal cortex, the gonads and the placenta. These genes generally respond to the same hormones that stimulate steroid production through common pathways such as cAMP signaling and common actions on their promoters by proteins such as NR5A and GATA family members. However, there are distinct temporal, tissue and species-specific differences in expression between the genes that are defined by combinatorial regulation and unique promoter elements. This review will provide an overview of the hormonal and transcriptional regulation of the STARD1, CYP11A1 and specific steroidogenic HSD3B genes in the adrenal, testis, ovary and placenta and discuss the current knowledge regarding the key transcriptional factors involved.